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Dealing with the Slow Season

Posted By: Molly Denson of Simply M Photography

 

Post-Christmas, many of us deal with a slight (or more than slight!) slump in bookings. Families have just done their holiday cards, and not as many weddings occur during the winter, so photographers tend to have a little more time on their hands. If you’re one that doesn’t like to think about how open your calendar has suddenly become, let’s talk about ways to keep improving your business during this slow season.

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Workshops, Webinars, and Websites

This is the perfect time to learn from those more established photographers whose blogs you’ve been stalking for the past few months (be honest – we all do it!). Many in the field offer workshops during the winter/early spring to help others improve their business knowledge or shooting style. Search around with Google or email those favorite photogs and ask if they’ll be offering anything in the upcoming months – who knows, you may be the person to encourage them to host a workshop!

I’m currently doing the Making Brands Happen webinar, lead by Lara Casey and Emily Ley. This is a super-informative, insightful, and encouraging course designed to bring your brand together and draw more clients to your oh-so-lovely and put-together photography business. There are many, many opportunities to learn from out there, you just need to find the ones that match what you need.

As for websites, I’m one that bookmarks a LOT of articles/sites to read later, then gets overwhelmed with all that I’ve missed. Take the time to organize the most important topics you want to read by whittling out those you aren’t interested in, then drop your favorites into Google Reader or your Bookmarks tab. Give yourself a goal each day to read a certain amount, but not too many, so that you can truly absorb the information and be able to connect it with your business.

 

Evaluation and Spring Cleaning

You’ve been meaning to update that blog header, right? What about design a new logo, or create a business plan for this year? We all have such good intentions when it comes to keeping our business evolving, but can easily get behind with, well…life! Take the time these few months to really look at your business – all aspects.

What’s working for you? What do you feel are the strong points of your photography? What are the weak points? Have you noticed inconsistencies with your branding, processing, or client experience? Determine where you can improve and work on those areas. You don’t need to tackle everything in a day; simply create weekly goals and commit to working toward them with energy and a good attitude. Turn on your favorite music, write out everything you want to improve, and take it a step at a time (also take a dance break when you feel the need!). You will feel so much better when your business is on its way to where you want it to be.

 

Ask a Trusted Photographer

Continuing with the “Evaluation” thought – why not ask an honest, respected friend (a photographer, specifically) to help you with this process? Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes can do wonders. Talk to them about what you’re struggling with and bounce around ideas. I always appreciate feedback from those I trust and who I feel understand my photography “vibe”, and many times, they help me see things I could improve on or tweak to better reach my goal. If possible, it would also be smart to ask a seasoned pro to help you evaluate your business. Mentoring sessions are popular these days – take advantage of them!

 

Run a Special

If you are missing the excitement of weekly shoots, why not run a special to drum up business? Mini sessions, such as for Easter or Valentine’s Day, are always a hit, and are different enough from regular family sessions that people will be excited to join in!

If mini sessions aren’t for you, what about a nice discount? You could offer a certain percentage off for those who book during a certain week or month, or come up with a fun give-away. It’s all up to you and what you feel best fits your business!

 

Practice

You knew I wasn’t going to leave that one out, right? This is a great time to hone those shooting skills! If you aren’t shooting in manual yet, try it out on family or friends so you’ll be ready once the bookings start coming in. Learn Lightroom. Practice shooting at various times of day to observe how the sun changes the look of your photos. Rent a few lenses you’ve been itching to test. There are a many ways to prep for the rest of your busy photography year!

 

I hope these tips are helpful to you in the last few weeks of the slow season. Good luck and I know your phone will be ringing with clients soon!

 

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